Dec. 29, 2011 – With much of the holiday season behind us, many are looking ahead to a bright new year and resolutions to be made and kept. Hopefully, they’ll include one to give to others in need.
Just as there are Web sites that make it easy for you to wring the last bargain from all of those year-end sales, there are others that make it easy to give back to charities that are helping people in need as well as support those public institutions whose services you may benefit from everyday.
What you get back is a sense of goodwill and satisfaction that you’re helping to ensure that local food banks, public media and other service institutions will continue their work. A side benefit, if you give enough, is a break on your 2011 tax return.
As Jason Hiner at Tech Republic points out, many charities are taking advantage of the latest technology to make it easier to donate, using tools like cell phone texting campaigns, online giving or social network sites like Facebook. Here are a few of my favorites:
- AmpleHarvest.org – Waste not, want not, is what my mom used to say and this organization makes good use of this principle. It uses Internet donations to get food from local growers to local food banks.
- Washington Animal Rescue League – The rescue league provides a humane environment for abused, abandoned, and forgotten animals for their recovery and transition from hardship to adoption. You can also lean more at their Facebook page.
- WAMU – American University public radio provides a variety of intriguing programming produced locally and by National Public Radio affiliates.
- Doctors Without Borders – This group of doctors and journalists focuses on “bringing quality medical care to people in crisis,” often going into war zones and places of other atrocities at risk to their own lives and safety.
- Salvation Army – Helping untold millions of people in need, the Salvation Army is more than those little red collection kettles you see during the holidays. It provides jobs, clothing, food, shelter and other services. It’s not to late to ring in support for the organization with their Online Red Kettle Drive.
- Heifer International – Still have a few gifts to give those you haven’t seen in a while? Help them become stakeholders in the fight to end world hunger by buying an individual animal, flock or heard that provides substance to the impoverished.
- Appalachian Trail Conservancy – If you love the outdoors, you’ll want to support the natural treasure of the Appalachian Train and those who protect it. Their beautifully designed site offers several ways to give.
- Kiva – I love this charity. You give so that others can live their dream. Offering “a hand up instead of a hand out,” Kiva provides loans to small business owners, mostly in the developing world but also locally in the D.C. area. Loans are paid back at a reported rate of almost 99 percent.
- Blood Water Mission – What I like about this organization is that not only does it build wells to providing clean water in sub-Sahara Africa, but it provides support programs to sustain communities as well. You can give $25 to provide a year’s worth of water for 25 Africans or give monthly to support community sustainability projects.
- International Justice Mission – As a woman, I am extremely troubled by the amount of child trafficking, enslavement and child violence worldwide. This organization works against these practices and rescues the exploited. Their site supports giving in a number of creative ways, including support for buying bicycles and start-ups.